Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald got some attention in today's Washington Post, but not the kind she orders her press aides to go get. The paper's Lois Romano says that Millender-McDonald, whose 37th district is centered on Carson and Compton, has a reputation for being unusually hard to work with. Just in the month since she took over as chairman of the House Administration Committee, her staff director and two others have quit. Others are looking.
Several former staffers -- some who quit and some who were fired over the past few years -- report that the congresswoman is difficult to work for because she demeans staff and rarely seems pleased with their work. All asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals.
She once fired an aide for -- among other issues -- leaving a box of candy on her chair, said a source. Her No. 1 rule, the ex-aides say, is that aides can never walk in front of her. The sources also say she is unusually egotistical -- even for a politician -- and insists that staffers tout her accomplishments in news releases and other materials. Her two-page, single-spaced bio on her Web site, one pointed out, used the word "first" 18 times, as in "the many firsts the Congresswoman has amassed since arriving on the political stage."
Another first: She is the wealthiest member of the House Black Caucus. Last year, the best Millender-McDonald stories were about the mysterious illness that was being used to keep her son out of prison, even though her Washington staff denied she was sick. Here's the Millender-McDonald website.